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Lodge Cast Iron Pan/Grill Pan. Worth buying?

So a kitchen supply store near me is having a sale and I can get a lodge grill pan and a fry pan (both cast iron for about $40. I know it's a pretty good deal price wise, but are these items I'm going to get a lot of use out of? I have a smallish apartment so smoke is a concern, but I do use my lodge dutch oven all the time, (although stew season is over). I'm cooking at home a lot more now and I've always had my eye on these items, I'm just wondering if I'm being greedy to want them or if they'll become staples in my kitchen.

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  1. Nocontact,

    I don't know if $20 is really a great deal for a Lodge grill pan and a fry pan. It really depends which grill pan and which fry pan. You can easily get them under $40 on Amazon -- depending the versions.

    " if they'll become staples in my kitchen."

    This really depends your cooking style. If you like to fry and sear, then you will get quite a bit of use out of the frying pan/skillet. The grill pan, by its nature, you will use much less.

    1. I have vintage cast iron skillets, and a Lodge grill pan. I use my grill pan every day for turkey bacon. If you cook bacon, you might well come to prefer that pan for it. I also use it for grilling burgers (hamburgers, salmon burgers, turkey burgers) and the odd fish fillet. I've grilled veggies in it as well, and they turn out well.

      I use mine on the high heat burner. I heat it on medium, and with bacon, usually lower the heat after a bit. I have a glass topped stove.

      I use my skillets for all sorts of things. I brown meat and poultry, make cheese sandwiches, make French toast, bake cornbread and biscuits and other things, saute onions, etc. I don't fry much. But for an egg or an occasional chicken breast, I prefer sauteing in non-stick.

      So, my lists might help you understand what you can use these 2 pans for. If I understand your post, the price is $40 for the two. I think this is a fair price, if they are Lodge pans. There have been several posts on several threads about posters' distrust of Chinese cast iron. I'd buy Lodge, if I was buying new. (Unless I had access to find cast iron from France).

      Hope this helps.

      1. My 12" Lodge grill pan is GREAT for steaks! IMO, a cast iron grill pan is absolutely the best way to make a steak (indoors, that is).

        1 Reply
        1. re: tanuki soup

          I forgot about steaks! You can get that pan as hot as you need to.

        2. They are running $10 each in Florida at garage sales and thrift shops.

          If you do buy them new, please check out all the threads addressing the multitude of ways to season the pans. If you should ask for the best way to season, expect at least 20 to 50 more posts.

          4 Replies
          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

            And that's the truth. And each post will give conflicting advice as if it were gospel! LOL.

            1. re: sueatmo

              Haha, I experienced all of that when I purchased my lodge dutch oven! I know I'd use the flat pan, just wonder how much use I'd get out of the grill pan. The marks are nice I guess...

              1. re: Nocontact

                Sure the grill marks are nice! But better yet, its awfully easy to grill all sorts of stuff.

                1. re: sueatmo

                  Living on a boat, I clean my cookware with Dawn and sand and salt water. Joy if it is in the budget. This is an environment for the daily loss of patina, and the creation of layers of corrosion that results in explosive spalling. Every time I find a piece of old or heirlom cast iron, I give it a pass. Last week was a Griswold for $5 at a garage sale. I hope that whoever got it appreciates it.

                  I already have a 14 inch or so back-up in that size.

          2. I passed on a Lodge grill pan at a local thrift store that was in perfect shape and selling for 13 bucks. Yesterday at a garage sale I ran into a griswold/wagner #9 grill pan complete with a cast iron lid for a whopping 15 bucks - a deal that I simply could not resist. It's getting reseasoned this evening.

            They are useful pans and will live either on your stove or very close to it. The newly acquired one is the third one I have owned in 35 years. They have and will see a lot of use.

            If you must pull the trigger on a new one the Lodge is a great pan.

            1. I bought my Lodge about six years ago when they were around $25, and used it a lot until my vent fan died. For reasons too complex to go into I can't replace that until we remodel the kitchen, so if I want a steak it's the patio grill or nothing. But it's a good piece of equipment, if a lot heavier than the vintage ones. One thing about those is that the whole seasoning thing is meaningless; those ridges are where the meat sits, and as soon as it's ready to turn it releases just fine. And then you can use detergent, hot water and a scrub brush to get the guck out of the valleys.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Will Owen

                One thing about those is that the whole seasoning thing is meaningless; those ridges are where the meat sits, and as soon as it's ready to turn it releases just fine.
                ---------------------------------------------------

                Yes. Just start using it. No muss, no fuss. I scrub my pan every so often, and rinse it several times a week. I have never seasoned it. (I use a simple dish brush for scrubbing. )

              2. A good combination is the square grill pan, matching panini press, and an OXO grill pan scrub brush (the very stiff bristles line up with the grill). I prefer the grill pan to the flat griddle/grill because it contains splatter better and I can fill with hot water to soak the gunk that gets burnt on.The trick to the panini press is to let it get good and hot on a separate burner....it's heavy as hell so applies lots of nice pressure to your sandwiches (will practically waffle white bread.) For "rainy day" steaks and shops, the grill pan works great, though found the best way to cook with it is to get a good sear on the stovetop and finish in a warm oven (use the oven to pre-heat the grill pan).

                1. For the grill pan, point a strong fan at an open window. It's a great pan and like others have said it is great when you can't be outdoors. But you can get caught up in the cooking then turn around and realize that you can almost swim in the smoke.

                  1. I have an opposing view from many that have posted here. While I don't have a Lodge grill pan I do have 2 Le Creuset grill pans that are sitting in our basement storage room. I bought the first one at Goodwill for $5. I tried it and found it a PITA to clean. I bought the second one, it's a little different shape and a little larger than the first one, for about $7 and don't like that one any better. I guess I bought them because they were nearly new Le Creuset pans. They look great, I just don't like to wash them.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: John E.

                      Do you think you don't like them because they are (a) grill pan or (b) enameled cookware?

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        They are not enameled on the inside, cooking area of the pan. They have that rough, black coating. Is it possible they need to be seasoned? Frankly, I don't really have the need for a grill pan when a regular pan or the gas grill with do the job. We don't use a lot of cast iron when cooking at home mostly because of the weight on the glass top stove we have.

                        1. re: John E.

                          <They are not enameled on the inside, cooking area of the pan>

                          I cannot speak for the really old Le Creuset, but all modern ones are enameled inside and out. Even if they look black inside, they are enameled. Sometime this is called black satin, and sometime it is called black matte.

                          http://cookware.lecreuset.com/cookwar...

                          "and its interior is coated with Le Creuset’s protective satin black finish to prevent damage and wear. Over time, this slightly abrasive interior develops a natural patina that is ideal for searing and frying."

                          "Le Creuset’s durable black enamel finish (no seasoning required)"

                          <Frankly, I don't really have the need for a grill pan when a regular pan or the gas grill with do the job>

                          Yeah, I know what you mean.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Should I be attempting to season the interior of these grill pans? If I do, I'm going to have to go back and find the instructions on how to do it because grilling burgers and steaks in it is not going to help the seasoning all that much.

                            1. re: John E.

                              No, I don't think you need to intentionally season it. With an enameled cast iron cookware, we always run the chance of damaging it by intentionally seasoning it. You know, heating too high or fast change of temperature may make the enameled surface fractures.

                              <because grilling burgers and steaks in it is not going to help the seasoning all that much.>

                              Well, supposedly, cooking is the recommended way to season it.

                              Who knows, maybe this is why they are at Goodwill.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                I KNOW that's the reason they were at the Goodwill/thrift store. After I cleaned them and then cooked in them they had food residue and they had the stickiness to them that you don't want in a pan like that. The ridges made it hard to clean so that's why I don't use them. Again, since they were so cheap and Le Creuset so I had to buy them. I suppose i could do a passive-aggressive thing and give them away.

                      2. re: John E.

                        I have a Lodge grill pan and I use a grill brush on it, the scraper part too. If that doesn't remove the gunk that can develop between the ribs, I fill it with water to a little over the rib height and boil.

                        1. re: SanityRemoved

                          I do something similar. After removing the steak, I turn off the heat, pour about a cup of very hot water into the grill pan, and just let it sit while I'm eating. When it's time to do the dishes, the pan cleans up very easily with a stiff natural fiber brush and hot water.

                          1. re: SanityRemoved

                            I wonder if that is something that should be done to the interior of a LeCreuset pan?

                            1. re: John E.

                              <I wonder if that is something that should be done to the interior of a LeCreuset pan?>

                              Definitely not the part about using a grill brush.

                              :)

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Why not? Most of those are brass wire, not nearly as hard as the enamel coating. Actually, when I'm cleaning my Lodge grill pan I just give it a good soak with hot water and Dawn and then use a polypropylene scrub brush on it. That has a handle and long enough bristles to get down in there and clean it out good and proper. I'd use the same on a LeCreuset pan.

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  I think there is a common belief that only a harder substance and scratch a softer substance, but not the other way around. I think that is a very effective way to think about for the most simply applications, but not absolutely correct. A ceramic plate is harder than a relatively soft dining knife. So the ceramic plate can quickly dull most knives. However, this is not to say the knife does not scratch the plate at all. If you have ever take a close look of a used plate under good lighting, you will notice that it is full of scratches.

                        2. the lodge square grill pan is currently selling for 20.97 and free shipping from amazon so I don't think you have to jump on this deal right away. It's not that big of a savings. Personally, I would get the lodge cast iron grill/griddle that covers two burners instead of the grill pan. That way you can do longer vegetables like asparagus and zucchini and long strips of bacon. Things may get crowded in the grill pan and start steaming because of the sides instead of grilling.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: seamunky

                            I have a double burner cast iron grill/griddle and I love it! I could never go back to a smaller grill pan.

                            1. re: Njchicaa

                              I have that grill/griddle and greatly underuse it. It is me, not the pan. I need to do better at finding reasons to use it.

                              I love my 3 CI skillets and use them constantly.

                          2. I always make a pan sauce for my steaks and chops, so a grill pan is of no use to me.

                            1. 40 bucks for two pans that will last you a life time is a pretty fair price. Grill pans serve a purpose, but if I were cooking steaks, chops, or filets, and couldn't grill them over a wood fire, i would rather sear them in a flat pan. Just because it would be easier to deglaze and make a killer little pan sauce with. All cooks should have a few pieces of cast iron in their arsenal.

                              1. I like using the flat cast iron pan for steaks so I can pop a spatter screen over it. Saves 20 minutes of scrubbing up the stove top after a good meal. It's probably holding in a bit of moisture, but after a day at work I'd rather save some of the mess.

                                1. I have two of different sizes that I use on the stove top for grilling. Use a pierced French lid for splatter. Works great! I live in a condo, so no outside BBQ, just have to open all the windows due to smoke. Mine are old cast iron (no brand) and from time to time go into the oven on self clean to burn off stuff in the furrows,

                                  There is nothing better for boneless chicken breasts.

                                  They last FOREVER, so I wouldn't worry too much about the ideal price or waiting for a garage sale. I bought mine almost 40 years ago, and I guess they will be buried with me.